“Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceeding GREAT MANY, who were made pure and ENTERED into the REST of the Lord their God.” (Alma 13:12)
To enter into the rest of the Lord is one of the greatest experiences that can happen to a person while immortality. In fact we have been commanded to seek after this experience.
And seek the FACE of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls. (D&C 10l:38)
The Lord has given us the proper sequence as follows:
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that EVERY SOUL who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall SEE MY FACE and KNOW that I am. (D&C 93:1)
There are some other things that help prepare a person to see the face of the Lord. To see the Lord is to receive the Second Comforter. A person should seek to receive the First Comforter before he embarks on a program to receive the Second Comforter. The Holy Ghost, which is the First Comforter, grants a remission of sins and sanctifies the individual. What is the purpose of sanctification?
Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they MIGHT BEHOLD THE FACE OF GOD. (D&C 84:23)
Now listen to the definition of “rest” in the next verse.
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which REST is the FULLNESS OF HIS GLORY. (D&C 84:24)
The Lord became extremely unhappy with the people in the days of Moses. They hardened their hearts. They just didn’t want to see the Lord. Can you imagine anyone not wanting to see the Lord? The Lord wants us to want to see Him, in fact, He asks us to do that very thing. Our lives should be such a reflection of the life of the Master that we should be able to look upon Him even in His glory. The people in the days of Enoch were just this kind of people. They wanted to see the Lord. Satan didn’t want that to happen so he embroiled them in war.
And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the EARTH TREMBLED, and the MOUNTAINS fled, even according to his command; and the RIVERS OF WATER WERE TURNED out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard in the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
….And from that time forth there were WARS AND BLOODSHED among them; but THE LORD CAME and dwelt with his people, and THEY DWELT IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Satan attempted to destroy the City of Enoch. In spite of the war his people dwelt in righteousness. Because of this the Lord came and made His
abode with them. How would you like to live in a city where the was Lord personally present? Perhaps He might even pay a visit to your home. You would be on your good behavior, wouldn’t you?
In a great vision Enoch was also shown,
… Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever. (Moses 7:21)
Enoch was then shown the destroyer. His angels were rejoicing. The earth was veiled in his power. The rest of the people were at his mercy. He prepared them for the greatest baptism in the history of the world – the baptism of the whole earth — the one baptism in which he could rejoice. However, there were still people on the earth who wanted to see the Lord — that wanted to live with Him. Can you imagine how they felt when they discovered that the people of Zion had gone? This land of hope and righteousness was taken from the earth and they missed the flight. But the Lord knew of their plight and in one of the most infinite acts of mercy, outside of His atonement, He sent angels to the earth to rescue them.
And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son: and the HOLY GHOST fell on MANY, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven unto Zion. (Moses 7:27)
They too were permitted to see the Lord.
Perhaps the second greatest group of people that ever lived on the earth were the Nephites who were spared from the great destruction at the time of the crucifixion. The people who were spared were all permitted to see the Lord in His glory. When He appeared, He said:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. (III Nephi 11:10,11)
The multitude, remembering the prophecies concerning this event, fell to the earth and then the Lord instructed them:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and feet, that ye may KNOW that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come. (III Nephi 11:14, 15)
Many individuals have been permitted to see the Lord in addition to the many who saw Him in Enoch’s day and the many who saw Him during His visit to the Americas. Isaiah was one of them. Listen to his testimony.
In the year that king Uzziah died I SAW ALSO THE LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)
This made Isaiah uncomfortable. He sorrowed as the spirit of repentance came upon him. Then he said:
…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of UNCLEAN LIPS, and I dwell in the midst of a people of UNCLEAN LIPS; for mine eyes have SEEN THE KING, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah’s conscience was quickened. He remembered things that he and the people had spoken, things that were displeasing to the Lord. The Lord recognized his feelings of guilt and took action to remove them.
Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:6-8)
Not only did Isaiah see the Lord but he received forgiveness of his sins in the same experience. He also volunteered to serve the Lord. This experience represented the same thing that happened to Enos in the Book of Mormon. (Enos)
Another individual who was permitted to see the Lord was the brother of Jared. He and his people had built eight vessels in which they were to cross the ocean, but they had a slight problem. The vessels were constructed in such a manner that no light could get into them. They didn’t want to attempt the crossing without light. The brother of Jared made sixteen small stones. He then asked the Lord to touch them so they would give light. I’ll bet Thomas A. Edison never thought of that method. So great was the faith of the brother of Jared, when the Lord touched the stones, the brother of Jared saw His finger. Then the Lord showed him His spirit body and stated:
Behold, this body, which YE NOW BEHOLD, is the body of my spirit and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh. (Ether 3:16)
Do you remember the testimony which Lehi gave near the end of his life? He wanted his family to understand that he had seen the Lord, and that the keeping of His statutes was vital.
But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have BEHELD HIS GLORY, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love. (II Nephi 1:15)
Lehi admonished his son Jacob, near this same period of time, and reminded him that he, Jacob, had also seen the Lord.
And thou HAST BEHELD IN THY YOUTH HIS GLORY; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free. (II Nephi 2:4)
Another person who was permitted to see the Lord in his youth was the prophet Mormon. The experience happened when he was only fifteen years of age.
And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of sober mind, therefore I WAS VISITED OF THE LORD, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. (Mormon 1:15)
The opening of this dispensation started when a young Joseph Smith was permitted to see the Lord and our Father in Heaven.
When the light rested upon me I SAW TWO PERSONAGES, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other –This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him. (Joseph Smith 2:17)
One of the strongest testimonies ever recorded on this subject was the testimony of Moroni:
And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.
And then shall ye know THAT I HAVE SEEN JESUS, and that he hath talked with me FACE TO FACE, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things. And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now, I would COMMEND YOU TO SEEK THIS JESUS of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.
What I have attempted to show is that the Lord is pleased with us when we desire to see Him. He wants us to live his commandments that we might be able to see Him. This should be one of the primary goals of the Latter-Day Saints. It is not an experience that is limited to prophets and apostles. It is open to everyone who will qualify. The Lord said to Joseph Smith:
He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken. (D&C 88:83)
It is obvious that many of the prophets sought the Lord early in life and did find Him. Others saw Him later in life. For those of us that have passed that time in our lives and have not as yet found Him, perhaps we could seek Him “early” in the morning, and still find Him. It is in the early part of the day when we have fresh minds, spirits and bodies — when we can really receive inspiration from our Heavenly Father.
To enter into the “rest” of the Lord should be one of the most important goals for any Latter-Day Saint. You’ll get plenty of opposition, but the Lord is on your side. With that kind of support how can you lose?